Isles Show Up in the Third, Engvall’s Debut

The New York Islanders have defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a 4-1 Saturday afternoon game. Kids and families packed the stands for an important game in the wildcard race of the Eastern Conference. With more games played than anyone in that race, the Isles needed a big performance, and they got it.

Much of the game was close in score, entering the third with a 1-0 deficit to the Wings, but the Islanders were playing solid hockey throughout most of the game. By this point, I found myself thinking “we need to be able to score a few goals against teams like this, and at a time like this”. Thankfully, the boys kept the pressure on and continued to redeem their reputation of being shut out in the third, scoring 4 goals in the third period alone. The Isles have outscored opponents 13-0 in the third period in the last 8 games.

Parise, Palmieri, and Lee tallied goals for the Isles, with two for the captain. Two of these (Palms and Lee’s first) were deflections from point shots, displaying a full team effort in creating offense. Parise scored first, though, after crashing the net to complete a good ol’ P.O.P (pass off the pads) from Palmieri, classic veteran play. In this second half of the season, the older guys are cashing in on their hard work and experience with classic hockey plays. Nothing too fancy, just getting pucks on net and being there for rebounds. Lee’s second tally to conclude the scoring came after a neutral zone backcheck on Wings captain, Dylan Larkin, and a dish from Bailey in the slot. Larkin was the only goal-scorer for the Wings today, netting a PP goal from in front of the net.

This was a fantastic end to the game, especially considering our one-goal leads are far from safe in the third.

In addition to a general positive game for the offense, the Islanders proved they don’t have to get scored on after every goal they themselves score. Woohoo! The three days off since a S/O loss to the Wild seemed to pay off in this important victory. They played hard with discipline and stuck to the game plan. Ilya Sorokin stopped 22/23 shots in front of his father, who apparently hadn’t seen him play live in 10 years! All-around great win for the fellas.

Pierre Engvall (6’4″, 198 lbs) made his Islanders debut, as well. A late acquisition, Engvall will certainly aid in supplementing Bo Horvat in the absence of Barzal. He is one more reliable forward with great skating and hockey sense. I was impressed with his puck battles and hustle, using quick stops and starts as opposed to wide turns away from the play. With 17:26 of ice-time, Engvall managed two SOG and a takeaway. It will surely take some time for him to be fully integrated into the Islanders’ style of play, but he looks like a promising addition, and despite playing for Toronto for his first three and a half seasons, he does have some playoff experience (17 games, 4 points). His career high sits at 35 points in 78 games, and currently has 21 points this season. With less star-power than the Leafs, he will find a significant role on this Islanders roster and hopefully be able to chip-in some more points, at least until Barzal’s return.

It was a good day to be an Islanders fan, but now the battles continue for one of those wildcard spots. If we can keep playing well, Isles fans will be treated to playoff hockey once again! it’s going to be a real close call.

Author: Anthony DiCostanzo

Islander fan living in Boston! #Metal #Hockey #Nature @anthonymdico (Twitter) @antdico25 (IG)

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